Cyber security is becoming increasingly important in government, business and for the general public as the Internet of Things continues to grow. While criminals find new and more complex ways to steal or damage electronic data, the specialisation of cybersecurity experts becomes more refined.
There’s now an increasing number of roles that require the focussed knowledge of a subject matter expert. Edith Cowan University’s (ECU) Master of Cyber Security Course Coordinator Dr Patryk Szewczyk says in addition to technical skills, it’s essential to have a range of soft skills - particularly the gift of the gab.
A cyber security professional needs to be enthusiastic, possess the ability to listen, communicate effectively and work methodically to solve computer, network and information-centric issues and challenges.
Until recently, these roles were usually found in the information and communications technology departments of large organisations. Now it’s common to find cyber security professionals in other departments as well as in senior management (even at board level) and in specialist organisations that provide computer and data protection as a service.
"The demand for cyber security professionals is growing in line with the deployment of ICT (Information and Communications Technology) solutions within all industries", states Dr Szewczyk.
Cyber security professionals are highly desirable by government agencies, law enforcement, banks, private sectors and enterprises."
A Cyber Security degree is now a passport into a growing multitude of jobs that can take you all over the world. Here are just five to consider:
Cyber Security Analyst
As the name suggests, this person analyses software, hardware and networks for vulnerabilities. With a broad knowledge of computer security, they will investigate tools for protection and make recommendations on their implementation.
A cyber security analyst could be the only person in a small or medium business that is charged with the responsibility of maintaining IT safety, or they may be part of a team in a larger organisation with its own IT function. Either way, communication is one of the key skills here as they work closely with internal and external stakeholders.
It’s these human relationships that can provide valuable information for assessing threats in addition to the fine skills required to manipulate log data to reveal the most useful information.
Network Security Engineer
With a more specialised mandate, this is a role that is primarily concerned with monitoring and detecting threats on a network. Once detected, the Network Security Engineer will mount an incident response which may involve other members of the cyber security team.
The key is to keep the network secure and, if there is a problem, bring it bouncing back into operation quickly. They also have advanced skills in manipulating log data, along with the forensic nous to track a breach back to its source.
Other aspects of this role include investigating new technologies and contributing to network security policies.
Information Security Officer
This role is one of the last lines of defence between electronic data and the unauthorised users who would like to get their digital hands on it. Information Security Officers establish external barriers such as firewalls and work closely with users to explain potential threats.
With direct access to the precious information that cyber security sets out to protect, employers advertising for this role often seek security clearances and cyber security certification. ECU’s Master of Cyber Security is accredited by the Australian Computer Society which can help in this regard.
The Chief Information Security Officer is a high-level management role that has oversight of a large organisation’s data security management.
Also known as a ‘white hat’ or ‘ethical hacker’, the penetration tester is like the outlaw who teams up with the authorities to use their powers for good. They have the enviable role of actively trying to penetrate security systems to provide hard evidence that vulnerabilities exist.
For large scale infrastructure, such as utility systems or power grids, multiple penetration testers are employed as Red Teams – a group who take on an adversarial role to test an organisation’s effectiveness.
The greatest challenge here is ethics. While maintaining current knowledge of computer systems and hacking techniques, penetration testers must have strong ethical decision-making skills.
Computer Forensics Investigator
The main task of the Computer Forensics Investigator is to retrieve data from storage devices that may have been encrypted, corrupted or affected by a virus.
They can work with law enforcement agencies in the direct pursuit of criminals, or they may work for private firms who have been the victims of those criminals.
Analytical and problem-solving skills are essential for this role.
Upgrade your qualifications with a Cyber Security degree
According to Dr Patryk Szewczyk, the key to all of these roles is a broad understanding of cyber security at an advanced level.
“You should possess detailed knowledge of contemporary operating systems, networking technologies as well as application vulnerabilities and countermeasures. I put a great emphasis on the ability to manage incident response events, and awareness of social engineering centric attack mechanisms.”
In addition, continuous professional development is essential in the rapidly evolving world of technology.
A cyber security professional must maintain awareness and knowledge of contemporary best practices and procedures."
"They need to be across emerging technologies and cyber issues and know how to best solve them."
ECU has been a pioneer in teaching cyber security for over a decade. It is the only university offering cyber security degrees that has an Australian Federal Government recognised Academic Centre of Cyber Security Excellence.
You can complete the Master of Cyber Security with Edith Cowan University Online part-time in just 24 months. So, you can study on your terms, in your time, without putting your career on hold.
The course covers ethical hacking, network security and information security to give you a competitive edge in all of these five key roles. You’ll also develop project management capabilities with a focus on soft skills such as risk management and organisational management.
A Master of Cyber Security with Edith Cowan University Online gives you the tools and techniques to predict not just IT risks, but also the cyber security roles of tomorrow.